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Stratford Circus Arts Centre ‘beefs up’ drama programming in new season

Stratford Circus Arts Centre. Photo: Ollie Harrop Stratford Circus Arts Centre. Photo: Ollie Harrop
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Stratford Circus Arts Centre has unveiled a new drama strand in its latest season, which will see the east London venue “beef up” its theatre programme for adults.

The multi-arts venue is known for its family programming, but will now present new writing by local playwrights, with a focus on telling east London stories.

Stratford Circus director Tania Wilmer said the expanded drama programme represented a commitment to the “experience of local people” and to “diversifying the range of voices that are represented on stage”.

She told The Stage: “There is a lot of small-scale theatre work in there and this kind of represents a beefed-up adult programme. We are growing the adult programme because the population in Newham and Stratford is changing. Stratford’s population is due to double I think by 2021, or something crazy like that, so we have more audiences locally.”

Wilmer went on to say: “Otherness and diversity and marginalised groups are often represented in very stereotyped or exoticised ways, and I think this is about presenting these stories in a much more personalised, authentic, complex, interesting way.”

Theatre in the programme includes Bubble Schmeisis by Newham-born writer and street performer Nick Cassenbaum, and Libby Liburd’s Muvvahood, a verbatim theatre piece about single mothers living in London.

The season opens with the UK premiere of Swedish circus company Magmanus’ Attached, which runs at the venue from September 22 to 24.

Other work includes a free outdoor arts event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, featuring NoFit State Circus and Motionhouse, and a new music piece for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

The piece, called Pepper the Monkey and the Extraordinary Rainbow Circus, is part of an ongoing programme of work for young people with learning difficulties.

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